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Microsoft outs 'Lumia Denim' update that brings faster, better camera app

By Katrina Canlas & James Lu - on 4 Sep 2014, 5:29pm

Microsoft outs 'Lumia Denim' update that brings faster, better camera app

Microsoft unveiled its latest Lumia devices update at IFA 2014 today. "Lumia Denim" will be rolling out to all WP 8.1 Lumia devices later this year and includes WP8.1 Update 1 (available for all Windows Phone 8.1 devices) as well as a number of Lumia specific goodies, including a much-improved camera app.

The biggest upgrade for Denim is the improved camera app. Microsoft's VP of Mobile Sales, Chris Weber, demonstrated the app on stage, which loaded up noticeably faster than the often laggy existing app, and also boasted a much faster shot-to-shot transition time. This should significantly cut down on missed picture opportunities as you wait for your Lumia phone to load or save a picture. Compatible models will also be able to easily record in 4K resolution by long-pressing the shutter button on the new camera app.

A new Rich Capture mode tries to simplify picture-taking with auto HDR and Dynamic Flash. Shooting in this mode will let you edit the picture later with sliders for adjusting settings.

One of the most intriguing new features in the new camera app is the ability to simultaneously take two pictures - one with and one without flash. The reason for this being, when you come to edit the image, this lets you adjust a slider that lets you dynamically adjust how bright the flash is in the picture. In other words, if the image is too bright with the flash but too dark without it, you can now tweak the end result so it ends up somewhere in-between.

Denim will first be available on the newly launched Lumia 830, 730 and 735, and will then roll out on the Lumia 930, 1520 and Icon, with other WP 8.1 devices to follow.

Here's the full list of improvements included in Lumia Denim:

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1

  • Cortana – The most personal digital assistant on the market will now be available in the UK and China as a Beta. India, Canada and Australia will have access to Cortana as a public Alpha. For US residents, Cortana now includes an improved natural language, car kit integration via Bluetooth for contacts, snooze reminders and calendar improvements.
  • Live folders – If you prefer to keep your apps or games organised, you can now put them into folders. Simply press, hold and drag an app over another to create a new folder on the Start screen. Each folder can be renamed by tapping on the text field above the open folder.
  • Apps Corner – Create a customised Start screen, where only specific apps or games are accessible. This could be particularly useful in the workplace if you’re issuing Windows Phones to employees.
  • SMS merge and forwarding – Select individual text messages to either delete them out of a messaging thread, or to copy and past them into a new message in order to forward them.
  • Snooze Times – It’s now possible to customise the snooze time within the Alarm app.
  • Consumer VPN – Maintain privacy and security when using data while connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots or even with your home Wi-Fi.
  • Mobile Web Site improvements in IE – Connect and browse even faster with improved downloading speeds on mobile websites.
  • Store Live Tile (US only) – The Store Live Tile displays featured apps and games that are the most popular in the Store, or most relevant for you

Unique Lumia experiences

  • Lumia Camera – Replacing Nokia Camera, Lumia Camera is faster and more intuitive than before to make the best camera experience, even better.
  • Speed – Pocket to capture speeds are superfast, and it only takes milliseconds going from shot to shot.
  • Moment Capture – A long press of the camera button starts 4K-quality video recording at 24 FPS. With each frame at 8.3 megapixels, you can save individual frames as high quality still images.
  • Rich Capture – Auto HDR and Dynamic Flash are now welcomed into the already-impressive feature set. Shoot first and adjust the camera settings later for that perfect photo.
  • Improved image processing algorithms – Updated to give you clearer photos, even in lowlight.
  • “Hey Cortana” Voice Activation - Gone are the days of pressing the microphone button to wake-up Cortana. Simply say “Hey Cortana” while the phone is idle and Cortana will activate.This is possible thanks to the SensorCore technology.
  • Glance Screen – Compatible Lumia devices can now show more at a glance with Bing Weather, or Bing Health & Fitness data, in addition to time and date, notifications and application data.